Finals repeat in sight for Herning-Ikast
Last season, Herning-Ikast really impressed in Europe, making it all the way to the EHF European League Finals. There, they ultimately lost both matches — the semi-final against Siófok and a tight game to decide third place against Romanian powerhouse Minaur Baia Mare.
It will be a tough task for Herning-Ikast to repeat their top-four ranking this season or do better, considering the loss of a few key players.
- last season’s results qualified Herning-Ikast directly to the 2021/22 group phase
- they have been one of the top teams in Denmark year after year
- lost three key figures to big clubs before the season
Most important question: Do Herning-Ikast have the squad to reach the finals?
What Herning-Ikast achieved last season in both Europe and the Danish league was impressive. They won five out of six games in the European League group phase and then eliminated Lada in the quarter-finals, whilst finishing third in the Danish league.
But since then they have lost a few of their best players from last season, for example, Helene Gigstad Fauske to Brest Bretagne and Mie Sando to Borussia Dortmund. That does not seem to worry head coach Kasper Christensen.
“Last year we played in the finals and we will fight for that again,” says Christensen. “Herning-Ikast have played European handball for many years in a row. It’s a big part of the club.”
Under the spotlight: Emma Friis
Left wing Emma Friis is one of the more experienced players in this year’s Herning-Ikast squad — and that says a lot given she is only 22 years old and already team captain. Friis has played senior handball in the club since 2016 and made her debut for the Danish national team back in 2018. She is considered one of the biggest talents in Danish handball.
And Friis aims high this season. “We will do better this season than we did last year,” says the captain.
That means at least a bronze medal in the EHF European League. But the left wing realises that it will be a tough task considering all the top teams vying for the trophy:
“Most teams from the finals last season are back. In addition, strong teams such as Bietigheim and Viborg are involved this year. There will be a tough battle to make it to the finals.”
Did you know?
Herning-Ikast have lost one of their best players for 2021/22, but not to another club. Stine Skogrand, captain and one of the most experienced players in the team, is pregnant and will not be playing this season.
What the numbers say
Two out of three newcomers this season are from the other side of Öresundsbron — the bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden. Emma Lindqvist, a star in the Swedish national team, and Tyra Axner, left back and daughter of Swedish national team head coach Tomas Axner, were recruited from Swedish clubs H65 and Lugi.
Arrivals and departures
Arrivals: Emma Lindqvist (H65 Höör), Tyra Axner (Lugi HF), Sonja Frey (Team Esbjerg)
Departures: Helene Gigstad Fauske (Brest Bretagne), Michala Møller (Team Esbjerg), Mie Sando (Borussia Dortmund)
EHF European League participations (including 2021/22): two
Semi-finals (1): 2020/21
Winners (2): 2002, 2011
Finalists (1): 2007
Semi-finalists (4): 2008, 2013, 2019, 2020
Quarter-finalists (1): 2006
EHF Champions League:
Semi-finalists (2): 2003, 2014
Danish league: four titles (1998, 2011, 2013, 2015)
Danish cup: eight titles (1990, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2019)